Author– Sonu Bhasin
Previous Works– Debut Novel
Publishers– Penguin Random House India
Number of Pages– 304
Why did Harsh Mariwala leave his family business?
What made the entire Dabur management to quit one day?
How did Dhingra brothers turn a suffering business in to India’s second largest paints company?
This is a fascinating behind the scenes look into what goes behind brands like Marico, Dabar, Keventers, Berger Paints, Select Group, Max Group and many others.
The book focuses on the culture, family politics, business rivalries between and within families, ego battles and a lot more. Plus there are the inheritors themselves who sometimes take the business to great heights and during others, lead to its doom.
The Inheritors by Sonu Bhasin is an anthology of business stories that lurk behind the success of some very well known companies of today’s time. The companies that are run by families, and passed from one generation to another. Starting with the story of the Dabur company where Amit Burman was the man who wanted to do something more than the family business, how his first failure led to something that stands proud and tall, the book takes us on a journey behind the scenes of all that fame, ego, tradition and rivalry.
People have a common assumption that the successors of family businesses have it easy. They already have a platform to show the world that they have it in them and they can manage a business successfully, at least they have a chance.
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Sonu bhasin shows the readers a different side of the story. It’s not easy to manage a family business. If you are someone with a conscience, your younger self would first try to make yourself eligible to handle the work. They do have access to a business where they don’t need to start from scratch but that comes with a price. With a family business comes a family that has managed the business for decades. There are various generations that work on the same subject, management of the work. It’s a toll to try and convince the older minds with the ideas of the younger minds as the market keeps changing and new marketing ideas need to be implemented every now and then. Managing a family that manages a huge business is tough, especially being humans makes us susceptible to clash of ideas and can upset family relations.
The book also throws light on the area of failure. It’s not that traditional businesses have had their fill of failures and are troding on the path of prosperity. Every now and then, a product or a method fails to grab attention of the customers and that’s a chance to learn.
The end of the first chapter put me in a trance as it took me a moment to soak in the vast amount of research that the author has done in order to compile a chapter. Starting from individual interview with the Inheritors to going through almost all of the books they ever authored, Sonu Bhasin has done it all.
The cover is quite a thoughtful one as it displays the shadow of a man standing amongst all the darkened portraits of people who were probably his ancestors. Won’t say it’s absolutely perfect, but it’s appropriate for sure.
Sonu Bhasin uses a simple yet sophisticated kind of language to elaborate the stories behind the companies. It’s a thing that won’t make you run for a dictionary every now and then but it does give a kind of contentment to the one reading it.
Cover- 3.5 stars
Title- 5 stars
Blurb- 4 stars
Content- 3.5 stars
Writing and Presentation- 3.5 star
Overall- 3.9 stars out of 5
The book does a great job at inspiring but in case you are looking for entrepreneurship tips, this is definitely not the book one should pick up.
It’s would become a bit of a task to read the book if you are not willing to be awed by the stories or do not find them up to your liking.
Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini
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About Sonu Bhasin-
Sonu Bhasin is a senior banker with close to three decades of experience. Previously she has held senior roles, like COO Tata Capital, Group President Yes Bank and President Axis Bank. She is now serves on the board of companies like Vodafone Mobile Services, Mahindra First Choice and Whirlpool India. She is the founder of boutique consultancy firm Families and Businesses (FAB).